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I am not a water snob. I will drink from the garden hose. I love the stuff, and I drink a LOT of water every day (rarely from the backyard spigot, but don’t tempt me). It’s usually unfiltered, straight from the kitchen sink. I like it room temp and I really like it with two ice cubes in the summer. Add a lemon, and what more can you ask for in life? Disclaimer: Hard pass on Dasani. Who drinks that garbage?
Anyway, I fully realize I may be in the minority here. When I moved into my current home, with a fridge from the 90s and no water dispenser, a visitor was appalled that I didn’t have so much as a Brita. I immediately bought one to make future guests feel more comfortable. They’re the only ones who you drink from it and/or refill it. I ain’t got time for that.
However, a few things have given me pause lately:
- A billboard on the side of a Denver freeway telling me not to drink from the faucet. Something about lead. Hmm, maybe everyone is onto something here.
- A recent story titled, “The Gross Reason Why You Shouldn’t Drink That Glass of Water You Left Out Overnight, According to a Toxicologist.” I’m not sure I understand the term “stale water,” but the stuff about bacteria is admittedly gross. (But, really, anyone know anyone who’s suffered from drinking stale water? Please let me know.)
I do think about the harmful stuff I’m chugging every time I refill my bottle from the tap. So I decided to try out the fancy LARQ water bottle with futuristic self-cleaning capabilities.
Battle of the bottles
First off, because water is life, I have a pretty impressive collection of bottles. I’ve thought about doing a “Battle of the Bottles” post before—to really narrow down the best water bottle—but what’s the difference really? I like Hydro Flask, sure. I also like Corkcicle. Nalgenes are lightweight and hold a lot of the precious life source (if you aren’t concerned with insulation). In general, just pick a color and size you like and drink on…?
But, LARQ actually is different. It’s more than a water bottle. LARQ is portable water purification. Let me boil it down for you (no pun). There are essentially two fancy filter options (spoiler alert: they both fit the same bottle, so if you’re torn or want super safe water, you can get both).
LARQ Bottle PureVis
The LARQ Bottle PureVis is “the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system.” It’s $99 (keep reading) with a rechargeable bottle cap that uses a proprietary UV-C technology to eliminate up to 99% of bio-contaminants (read: E.coli).
After filling the bottle, simply click the cap to activate the cleaning, which takes one minute. From there, it’ll repeat the cycle every two hours. It cleans the water and the bottle at the same time, which is great for lazy people like me who go weeks (ew?) without cleaning their around-the-house water bottle.
Holding down the button for five seconds will turn off the auto-cleaning cycles. This “travel mode” helps preserve the battery if you aren’t actively drinking from the bottle.
As long as the water is clear (no murky stuff, though there’s a solution for that, too), you can safely fill up from your trusty kitchen sink or even the playground bubbler (what the Aussies call a water fountain).
If you are drinking from a more questionable source (say a lake—still clear, but questionable), the bottle also offers a more thorough cleaning option called “adventure mode.” Tap the cap three times and the purification process takes three minutes, blasting 3x UV-C. The adventure mode sanitization process is akin to boiling your water for 20 minutes. Pretty legit.
The Bottle PureVis comes with a USB cable that easily pops into the cap to recharge it. The light will indicate when it’s in need of a charge. While charging, the light will slowly pulse and then turn to a solid green once fully charged. And rest assured, the charge socket is waterproof, just like to your iPhone.
It is the only mercury-free portable water sanitation system, and there’s no filter to replace. Hence the $99 price tag. Simply recharge the lid and keep on cleaning on. The charge holds for about a month in normal mode with a handful of cycles each day. Adventure mode will last you about two weeks before needing to recharge.
LARQ Bottle Filtered
Got sediment? You’re covered with the LARQ Bottle Filtered.
While the UV-C cap in the Bottle PureVis eliminates bacteria by destroying its DNA, it won’t remove sediment from the water. If you’re filling up from a lake, river, or anywhere else that might have small bits and pieces you don’t want to drink, LARQ’s Nano Zero filter cap… wait for it… fits the same bottle! You can buy one bottle system and add the second cap for double protection, or opt for just the Bottle Filtered system for a slightly lower price tag ($58).
The Nano Zero filtration technology in the Bottle Filtered removes microplastics, chlorine, lead, heavy metals, mercury, cadmium, particulates and more, while the PureVis cap with the UV-C light technology neutralizes harmful bacteria and viruses. One focuses on physically removing pollutants from water, and the other eliminates bio-contaminants. The caps are interchangeable, and if you want to double down on clean water, it’s suggested to use the PureVis cap first to sanitize the water and then the Filter cap to remove pollutants.
To drink from the PureVis cap, you have to untwist and remove the lid completely. Whereas with the Filter cap, you flip up a mouthpiece, which has an attached straw that is actually quite easy to sip through. You don’t notice at all that the water’s going through a filter as you’re sipping. Milkshakes should be the only difficult thing to conquer through a straw, not water.
It can filter up to 40 gallons (151 liters) of water, which is about two months of use, before you need to replace it. That’s the equivalent of 300 single-use plastic bottles. Amen. LARQ also offers an easy filter subscription with automatic delivery so you don’t have to think about ordering replacements or—gasp—using the same filter for a year, which, let’s be honest, could happen.
- Um, you’re not drinking lead, etc.
- It’s perhaps the sexiest water bottle on the planet. Non-scratch powder finish. Swoon.
- It comes with a cute carabiner?! A silicone-coated, detachable one. So fancy. So efficient.
- Insulation. The PureVis bottle has a more lightweight, non-insulated option (which will save you $10), but the double-walled bottle keeps water chilled for 24 hours and hot beverages warm up to 12 hours.
- You can pretty much guarantee this water bottle won’t be in the lost and found if you leave it at the gym.
- It ain’t exactly cheap. But any quality, insulated water bottle isn’t cheap these days. And do they clean themselves? I think it’s worth the investment. There’s a reason the smart investors on Shark Tank dumped $1M into the company.
On a recent trip to Mexico, where everyone knows not to drink the water, my travel buddy brought a whole water filter system made for the backcountry. It was a better solution that relying on bottled water (and wasting all that plastic), and we filled up our reusable water bottles every morning from the bathroom sink in the hotel. But it was big and bulky, required gravity to filter, and was a slow fill. And once we were out for the day, we couldn’t refill so we ended up wasting a lot of single-use plastic anyway. So, yeah, I wish I had the LARQ then. Next time, Mexico!